Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Bestaurant for Hot Pot

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The Bestaurant
409 Mains Road, Sunnybank

It's winter in Brisbane; that time of the year when for a couple of weeks we get hit with the kind of weather other countries would find mild and fine, but as a QLDer, sends me frozen to the core. The only cure for these painfully chilly nights is hot pot.

I love hot pot and I enjoy all versions, be it Chinese-style sliced lamb hot pot, Korean-style spicy seafood or Japanese shabu shabu. If it's bubbling and interactive, I'm a fan. We do Chinese hot pot at home a fair bit but one night, the mood struck me suddenly and I didn't have any of the necessary ingredients. Going out was the only solution.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dinner at Atalanta

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Atalanta Bar and Greek Restaurant

Greek food is one of my favourites and although I can name a number of reliably delicious options in Brisbane (mostly around the West End area), it always excites me to see new additions to our dining scene. Atalanta opened a while back in Portside Wharf and at first I was wary because I heard some mixed reviews but then my friend Jenny said it was good and I trust her opinion more than anyone else's. We arranged to have a group dinner there last Saturday night.

The restaurant is large and quite easy to find. It's located near the entrance of Portside Wharf, directly opposite IGA. It was busy on a Saturday night and very, very noisy. A large portion of our night was spent yelling "hey? Sorry, what?" and smiling and pretending to hear what others were saying when all we (or at least, all I) could hear was the persistent drone of a very chatty crowd. As the night progressed this became slightly less of a problem, I think because we naturally got louder the more we drank.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sydney Weekend in May 6 - Lunch at Catalina

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Catalina Restaurant

After our oyster pitstop (I wish that was something I could say every week), we boarded a ferry to Rose Bay. I had never been to that part of Sydney before but had heard many nice things. Mostly, I was just excited about the restaurant we were about to try. I booked Catalina months in advance and spent the weeks leading up to Sydney checking out their website and rethinking what I wanted to order.

The day of our booking was like something out of an ultimate lunch date fantasy. The weather was perfectly clear but not too hot. We entered the restaurant and were seated out on their expansive deck with full views of the water. The setting was dreamy and I couldn't wait to put down my (heavily rehearsed) order.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sydney Weekend in May 5 - Champagne and Oysters at The Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

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The Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

You know life is good when you decide you can stop off for a spontaneous oyster and cocktail brunch by the Sydney harbour. We had planned a ferry trip to Rose Bay for lunch but had underestimated the number of hours between check out at the hotel and lunch. It was nice weather so we took a leisurely stroll through the city to Circular Quay to enjoy the amazing views.

Chewbacca suggested we treat ourselves to some oysters. It was Jenny's birthday and there's no better way to celebrate a young ladies continued advancement through adulthood than with some bubblies and treasures from the ocean.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sydney Weekend in May 4 - Dinner at Master

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Master Dining

Our dinner at Master was something we had planned with Sydney friends many months before the actual trip. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since I only mentioned recently how meticulous I am about planning things in advance. I'm sure some find this approach to life to be stressful but for me, the earlier I plan something, the longer I have to look forward to it. And this was a dinner I was most definitely looking forward to.

In the weeks leading up to our weekend in Sydney, I kept seeing 'Master Dining' mentioned in all the up and coming restaurant guides online. Excitement grew and it was with utter glee that Marc and I approached the restaurant when the night of the booking finally came around.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sydney Weekend in May 3 - Dessert at RivaReno Gelato

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RivaReno Gelato Barangaroo

After our delicious dinner at Rockpool Bar and Grill, an ordinary couple would've been full and content to give their stomachs a rest. Not us!

Marc knew of a gelato store that had recently expanded and it was getting glowing online reviews. We happened to pass through the area on our way back to the hotel (more accurately we Googled the address and spent an hour getting lost in construction sites but determined to get gelato) and finally came across the shop front.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sydney weekend in May 2 - Dinner at Rockpool Bar and Grill

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Rockpool Bar and Grill

Because of my anxious personality, I always need to plan things well in advance. If anyone asks me to think of a restaurant to visit on the fly, I freeze up and my mind goes blank. It's alright for when I'm in Brisbane because I live here and have a supply of general 'go to' places (mostly eateries around Sunnybank) for when I have no other ideas. On an interstate trip, it's less desirable to be unplanned because I don't know other cities well so unless I have a booking made at a restaurant pre-researched, I assume we'll sit down somewhere unremarkable.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sydney weekend in May 1 - Lunch at Izakaya Yebisu

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Izakaya Yebisu
10/501 George Street, Sydney

I managed to do that thing again last weekend, while we were in Sydney, where we ate at so many places that I simply got overwhelmed by the amount of blog posts I had to write. The end result is that I procrastinate and put it off and end up writing nothing. This weekend, I'm forcing myself to do some reviews before I forget everything and make it harder on myself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Food and Drink at The Apo


The older I get the more I learn to appreciate any opportunity I have to catch up with good friends. A couple of weekends ago, a group of us met up for share plates and (lots of) drinks at The Apo in Fortitude Valley.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Crustacean Feast at St James Crabhouse

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St James Crabhouse and Kitchen
22 Baildon Street, Kangaroo Point

This was my MOST anticipated restaurant opening of 2016. I heard about these guys around the start of the year when they announced they were opening Brisbane's first American-style crabhouse. Since then, I've been following them religiously on social media and listening out for news and updates. St James opened its doors not that long ago and already, it's generated a lot of hype. All of my friends were talking about it and all the Brisbane lifestyle news forum I followed were raving. I couldn't wait to try it out.

I gave it a couple of weeks for the restaurant to find their footing and for the initial chaos to cool. Tidbits of information were flowing through my food network from people who had tried it or wanted to try it and the word on the street was a) they don't take bookings and b) it's a small restaurant so be prepared to wait. Marc and I are really impatient and have a general principle of not waiting for food. We decided to only go on a weekday when it was less likely to be busy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lunch at Madtongsan IV

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Madtongsan IV
Market Square, Corner Main Road and McCullough Street, Sunnybank

When I was studying in the city, I was a fairly regular attendee of the Madtongsan franchise. The Sunnybank branch has been open for a long time now but last month was my first time trying it out.

I was starting to come down with a cold and my remedy for sore throat is always, always spicy soup. To some that may seem counter-intuitive but for me chili is the best medicine.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dinner at LONgTIME

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Longtime Restaurant and Bar

There's no shortage of Asian-themed bars in Brisbane. Just off the top of my head, Kwan Brothers and Madame Wu come to mind and both left fairly positive impressions for me. You would think my mental quota for this genre of venue would be satisfied but for whatever reason, when I heard of Longtime, I was newly intrigued. I'm not sure how long ago Longtime opened; it seems 'newish' but not brand new. When it opened, I did a spot of casual research and found that they were hosting a theme night with guest chef Dan Hong from Ms G's in Sydney. I loved that restaurant so I was super keen to try this special event but alas I was working on the nights it was on.

Fast forward a year or so and I still hadn't been to Longtime. A friend of mine was visiting from Sydney and requested someplace 'cool' to dine. I know there are funky, thematic venues littered throughout Brisbane but my skeptic's voice told me there wasn't going to be anything on par with Sydney or Melbourne. My mind went blank and I panicked momentarily until Longtime presented itself as an option. It's difficult to know whether a restaurant classifies as 'cool' when you haven't been there yourself but the website looks hip and the font is edgy so what the heck, I made the booking.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thai Terrace for Dinner

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Thai Terrace

I was in a burger mood a couple of weeks ago and Marc suggested we try this burger place we saw that had just opened in Rosalie. When we got there, we realised it had already closed down and after lamenting over how fickle and competitive the hospitality industry is, we settled in for some Thai instead.

Thai Terrace is a restaurant I've walked past numerous times and always found inviting but never actually ventured into before. The external wall has these lit up pink window panels that I really like the look of. It's like... a classy lounge bar setting for Thai food.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dinner at Spaghetti House Trattoria

Spaghetti House Trattoria

Marc and I stumbled across Spaghetti House once, many years ago when it was in West End. I enjoyed the food we had that night and kept meaning to go back but things got in the way and suddenly there were all these new other restaurants to try. Before I knew it, Spaghetti House had relocated to South Bank.

Revisits continued to alude me and once we then moved to Sinnamon Park, South Bank was a chore to get to. Last weekend, our group of friends caught up over dinner. When brainstorming for dinner locations, dozens of new establishments jumped into my brain for attention but for whatever reason, I got hooked on the idea of Spaghetti House. It was an irresistible combination of nostalgia, promise of carbohydrates and their limited edition lobster gnocchi that drew me in and blocked off all other suggestions.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bare Bones Society for Brunch

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Bare Bones Society

Moving to the west of Brisbane, the restaurant I was most keen to try was Bare Bones Society. It has been on my radar for a long time but always felt too far away. Now, it's barely 5 minutes drive so there were no more excuses.

I've been to Bare Bones twice now for weekday brunch. They're also open for dinner on Friday nights with a changing menu. The restaurant is smack bang in the middle of the Homemaker Centre in Jindalee, so there are lots of parking spots.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spanish Feast at Toro Bravo

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Toro Bravo

Last week my close friend Blossom had a showcase at the RAW artist exhibit. We all hopped along to show our support and afterwards, wandered through the valley for a bite to eat.

Lunch at Woka Woka

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Woka Woka
Shop 20-22 Warrigal Square, 261 Warrigal Rd, Eight Mile Plains

Sometimes when I'm bored on the weekend I'll pop over to mum and dad's and see what they have to offer. Their solution to entertain me is usually to feed me and I'm not one to complain about that.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Melbourne 7 - Brunch at Trunks

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Trunk American Diner

It's shocking to think that I've taken a month to blog only 4 days worth of eating in Melbourne.  I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise considering how much we ate but I'm somewhat relieved that I'm up to the last post for this particular trip.

We had checked out of our hotel and it was about 3hrs till our return flight... just enough time for a spot of brunch.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Melbourne 6 - Dessert at Spring Street Grocer

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Spring Street Grocer

After our meal at Warra Warra, I found myself craving ice-cream. This might have something to do with the in depth dinner conversation we had about the quality of gelato in Brisbane versus Melbourne. Obviously my Melbourne buddies were adamant that what we considered good gelato in Brisbane was ass water compared to what they had on offer. I got a bit offended at first but the promise of top quality gelato lured me into wanting to try a place they suggested. We headed for a night time stroll through the city and ended up on Spring Street.

As the name suggests, Spring Street Grocer is a gourmet grocery store complete with its own veggie section and cheese room. I had a quick look around but my main focus was on the gelataria, which was outside at the front of the store. Apparently one of the 'disadvantages' of getting ice-cream here was lack of choice in flavours but because I'm very simple with what flavours I like to taste, this wasn't a problem for me at all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Melbourne 5 - Dinner at Warra Warra

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Warra Warra Korean Kitchen

After one failed attempt to meet my friend Doc for brunch (I simply couldn't wake up in time), we rescheduled a catch up, this time at the safer evening time slot. We were both in the mood for Korean and he suggested Warra Warra.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Melbourne 4 - Shabu Shabu Lunch at Momo

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Momo Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu

Fast forward to the Sunday of our friend's wedding. We were in holiday mood so we probably got out of bed around noon, just in time for lunch. The hotel Marc and I stayed at was just a street away from Chinatown (Little Bourke St) so that's where we headed.

There were restaurants galore but I wanted to make a decision before we became overwhelmed with options. We thought that Japanese sounded good and gravitated towards Momo. Upon studying the menu further, Marc was disappointed that it specialised in hot pot. As an addict of hot pot and all things soupy, I couldn't be more over the moon. Marriage may be about compromise but on this occasion I put my foot down.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Melbourne 3 - Lunch at Carmine's

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Carmine's Bistro

Marc and I did the touristy thing while we're in Melbourne and decided to take a stroll along Lygon Street. Most online articles reported the Italian strip along there to be a bit of a tourist trap with inauthentic pizza/pasta combos churned out for unsuspecting interstate/international visitors. I could picture my true Melbournian friends rolling their eyes at how naive we were but I ignored that mental image and focused on enjoying my day. Marc and I like walking as a means to take in new cities so for us, it was a chance to venture away from our hotel.

I had been to Lygon Street once before with Kat for our weekend away in Melbourne, many years ago. I even spotted Stuzzichino, a cafe we visited at the time. I'm sure lots of things have changed since 2010 but I felt a bit of nostalgia all the same.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Melbourne 2 - Banquet at Rumi Restaurant

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Rumi Restaurant

Perhaps the most urgent meet up I had arranged in Melbourne was with Mochi, my old housemate and long ago co-eater on this blog. I told her as soon as our flights were booked to think of a restaurant we could try. Because this is such a vague request (especially considering how much Melbourne has to offer), I narrowed it down to middle-eastern cuisine.

We ended up trying Rumi which is a modern Lebanese restaurant in Brunswick East. This was a Saturday night and every restaurant we drove past was busy, busy, busy. Despite having a booking, our table wasn't quite ready but the Maitre d' was very apologetic. Honestly, we were just happy to all be catching up so there was no huge rush but I like when restaurants acknowledge service flaws.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Melbourne 1 - Lunch at Laksa Bar

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Laksa Bar
108 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

It's the season for weddings! After Marc and I headed to Noosa for some friends wedding, we spent the following weekend jet setting to Melbourne for another friends wedding. Hey, it's an excuse for me to travel, eat and have time off work so I'm not complaining.

Melbourne is a good stop for us because as the years have gone on, more and more of our friends have dispersed out of Brisbane and moved interstate. The wedding itself was the highlight but we also took this opportunity to catch up with some old friends.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Brunch at Bistro C, Noosa

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Bistro C

While we were holidaying in Noosa, a good friend who grew up in the area recommended we try Bistro C. On our last morning, Marc and I checked out of the hotel in time for brunch and we headed over to Hastings Street.

Bistro C is located in the strip called "On The Beach" and is accessible from either the boardwalk or the street side. It was a Sunday morning with beautiful weather so the cafe was predictably quite busy. Luckily there are lots of tables so even though we were put in a waiting list, the actual wait was surprisingly short. I was ecstatic that we were seated outside with views of the ocean. It doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dinner Degustation at Wasabi, Noosa

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Wasabi Restaurant and Bar

Wasabi Restaurant has been in my scope of desire for a long, long time but as someone who doesn't frequent the Sunshine Coast, I never found myself there on a suitable evening. Recently, we had a lovely friend's wedding at Noosa Heads and took that as an opportunity for a long weekend away. I knew immediately this was our chance to finally try Wasabi.

Umeshu (plum wine)

We made a booking for a Saturday night. I didn't plan far in advance so many time slots were taken but there was one available at 8:30pm, which suited us fine because we prefer eating out later at night. The restaurant isn't quite in the main strip along Hastings Street but it was a very short drive away with easy parking. We were seated near a window that looked out onto the water outside. I could see fish in the water but it was too dark to make out much else.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tapas and Drinks from Gerard's Bar

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Gerard's Bar and Charcuterie

Earlier this year I was in a bit of a Gerard's frenzy. After an amazing dinner at Gerard's Bistro, I pulled together another group of friends to try small eats at the bar the following week. I started writing this review post a few weeks ago, closer to when we actually visited but somehow in my recent travels the draft has gone missing. Luckily, the time we had left a strong enough impression that I can still recall details today.

We got there just before 9pm on a Friday night so as expected, the place was busy.  We hadn't made a booking so we hovered around the front of the restaurant unsure if we could even get a table. Surprisingly, the security guard on duty spotted us looking confused and pointed out a spare table. He even went and found extra chairs so that we each had somewhere to sit. Talk about above and beyond service!

As Gerard's Bar is a bar first and foremost, we started the night by tackling the cocktail menu. Throughout the course of the evening we covered several rounds of drinks, which definitely added some pep and liveliness to our group.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fen Ku Guilin Rice Noodle

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Fen Ku Guilin Rice Noodle
Shop 20D, Market Square, Sunnybank 

Rewind back in time and it surprises me to think that our wedding was now 6 month ago. I'll risk making the ultimate cliche but this year certainly is flying by. I spotted a new restaurant at Market Square, Sunnybank that reminded me of our favourite honeymoon stop. Guilin is one of the most picturesque cities I've been to in my entire life.

While we were there, our wonderful local guide explained to us a few aspects of the local cuisine. He was very passionate about their rice noodles and even gave us historical reasons as to why rice noodles were so popular in that region. Marc and I tried some rice noodles while we were in town and thoroughly enjoyed them. This is why seeing Guilin Rice Noodles offered in Brisbane was very exciting to me.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dinner at Halims

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Halims Indian Taj Restaurant

I'm a bit surprised there isn't already a post about Halims on my blog. If I rewind back a few years, I can recall going to this Rosalie establishment fairly frequently. It left a really solid impression in my mind for tasty and affordable Indian food. Marc and I went for dinner a few weeks ago and so I can now give a recent review.

We arrived on a weeknight and it was quite busy at Halims. We managed to get a table out on the large front deck but later on, we noticed some other diners waiting for a table. The menu is your typical Aussie-Indian affair with special mention of biriyani that we didn't order but I'm curious to try one day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Willy Wonka Themed Pop up Degustation

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Willy Wonka Themed Pop up Degustation by Cody McKavanagh

Late 2015, I announced an exciting pop up event hosted and created by chef Cody Mckavanagh. This was to be a Willy Wonka themed degustation that sounded so intriguing I convinced both Marc and Jenny to come with me. It happened last Sunday and now,  I can finally give some insight to our experience.

Wandering Cooks in West End hosts many food events at their Fish Lane location. I had been there once for a food truck cook off that was so popular there was no food by the time we got there. Because of that, I knew where it was but hadn't had a taste (excuse the pun) of what it was like to eat there.

I imagine the venue space is very adaptable. For this degustation they transformed it into a lovely fine dining hall with candles, hanging bulbs and long tables for groups to share. We three took up a table with three other ladies but it was spacious enough to still feel like we were at our own table.